‘Strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith.’ Acts 14:22 NKJV
An exhorter has the ability to do three things:
(1) Confirm. ‘When they had preached the Gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the Kingdom of God.”’ (Acts 14:21–22 NKJV) An exhorter is a pillar of strength in difficult times. They know how to motivate the tough to get going, when the going gets tough. They throw a lifejacket of faith to the believer drowning in a sea of doubt.
(2) Console. ‘So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.’ (Acts 16:40 NKJV) Here the gift of exhortation is demonstrated in its finest form. Paul and Silas had been falsely accused, beaten with rods and thrown into a dungeon with their hands and feet locked in stocks. When word of it reached the church, the believers were really depressed. Remarkably, after they were supernaturally released from prison, instead of looking for consolation and comfort, Paul and Silas went to church and offered it to others.
(3) Confront. ‘I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord… these women who laboured with me in the Gospel.’ (Philippians 4:2–3 NKJV) These two prominent women in the church couldn’t get along with one another, so Paul took on the role of a peacemaker and confronted them. He was friendly, he was fair, but he was firm. And you must be the same.
SoulFood: 2 Sam 12:1–14:20, John 2:12–25, Ps 89: 1–14, Pr 23:10–14
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2023